Provincetown’s most famous native son — Rear Admiral Donald Baxter MacMillan (1874-1970) — was an intrepid and imaginative Arctic explorer, anthropologist, geographer and naturalist. Though he traveled more than 300,000 miles in 30 trips to the far north, he lived just blocks from where he was born (524 Commercial Street). This building was originally the barracks for the Civil War batteries at Long Point. MacMillan was the last survivor of the 1908-09 expedition in which Robert E. Peary claimed to have reached the North Pole. But “Mac” was no mere adventurer. His goal was “to bring back to scholars of all kinds bits of useful knowledge about this little-known great domain.”
In nine later journeys, he was joined by his wife, Miriam Look MacMillan. He donated memorabilia to the Historical Museum, now housed at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum. And, yes, if you hadn’t guessed it already, MacMillan Wharf is named in his honor.
The house is currently owned by Christopher M. Pula and Thomas A. Biggert, who also own Merry Meeting at 587 Commercial.